The holiday season brings feelings of love and family, giving, sharing and an overall general joy. But, all of those feelings can quickly be replaced with sadness, loss and destruction! Hundreds of fires start each holiday season from the sparkling holiday lights and the beautifully decorated Christmas trees.
The statistics are staggering, each year over 400 people die from fires during the holiday season. Over 1,600 people are injured by fire and over $990 million in damage is done to homes, businesses and other stuctures. There are some simple steps that you can take to help ensure that your holiday stays a happy and safe one!
A tree that is getting to dried out is one of the major causes of fires during the Christmas season. When you’re shopping for the perfect tree, keep these simple things in mind to make sure you’re getting a fresh tree. The needles should be real green and be hard to pull back if the tree is fresh. Pick the tree up off the ground and let it bounce, if a lot of needles fall off, keep looking for a different tree.
Make sure to make a fresh cut on the bottom of the trees trunk so that it can absorb as much water as possible. Erect your tree in a stand that is the correct size to hold the tree you choose. And, make sure to check the water in the reservoir daily. Even when the tree is kept with a good supply of water, most trees will dry out within two weeks.
If you want to use a real tree, don’t purchase it too early and don’t leave it up too long after the holidays. Place your tree in an area away from any heat source such as radiators, vents and fireplaces. Any type of heat that is close to the tree will cause it to dry out even faster.
If you’re using last years Christmas lights, make sure to check them over thoroughly. Look for any bare spots, frayed wires, a cracked or broken socket and also check for any severe kinks in the wire. A badly kinked wire could be broken on the inside of the insulation and you won’t even be able to see it.
Most Christmas lights sold today are approved by the UL testing laboratory. But, you may want to check just to make sure that your lights are. When using lights for outdoor decorating, make sure that they’re UL approved for outdoor use, never use indoor only lights outside. And, unless your lights are especially approved for connecting a lot of strands, don’t connect more than three strands of lights together.
Remember to check the lights wires now and then, they shouldn’t be warm or especially not hot. If the wire are heating up, unplug them and remove the lights and replace them immediately. And, never leave your Christmas lights plugged in when you’re gone.
When attaching Christmas lights to the eaves of your home or anywhere on the outside, you should never use nails or staples. Plastic clips are much safer to use around electricity. But, if you do use staples or nails to attach the lights, take extra care to not pierce the light wires.
If you have a fireplace, don’t burn gift wrap, gift boxes and other types of trash in the fireplace. The paper and cardboard can quickly create a large blaze that can get out of control.
Candles are great to use all year long, but they can really add to the wonderful holiday atmosphere. Never leave them burning unattended and discard candles when they’re down to about two inches tall. And, be really careful about where you place the candles. Don’t set them too near flammable materials.